Category Archives: Social Media

6 Marketing Mistakes Small Businesses Make Every Day

marketing mistakes

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Back in the old days, marketing meant throwing out a few flyers or advertising in the local newspaper. Nowadays, with so many cheap and readily available options such as social media, SMEs certainly have plenty to choose from. All too often, businesses make those choices badly, opting for useless quick fixes and spurious marketing strategies that at best have little or no effect and at worse can seriously damage their online reputation.

There are no quick and easy solutions when it comes to online marketing – no magic wand you can wave and have people rushing to your site. You have to build a following, engage them, and prove that you are a good person to do business with. You can’t simply go out and buy popularity.

Here are some prime marketing mistakes all businesses should try to avoid:

1. Buying Followers

It’s a waste of money and it doesn’t work. All you get is a bunch of spam accounts attached to yours which makes you look unprofessional and takes an age to get rid of when you realise what an idiot you’ve been. That’s why it’s only £10 for 1000 REAL followers. Sellers of this kind of product just press a button and send a bunch of spam your way.

2. Buying Likes and Retweets

The same goes for spending your limited marketing budget on likes for Facebook or retweets on Twitter to make your posts look popular. People can recognise this kind of scam a mile off and you’ll lose more customers than you gain. If someone has the gall to tell you that it boosts SEO then hunt them down and drown them in pineapple juice.

3. Buying or Making Up Testimonials

Would you be surprised to learn that some of the major brands still do this? It might seem like a great idea to make yourself seem popular but doesn’t actually work. The practice has led to people not trusting testimonials at all. One or two in depth and honest case studies are worth a thousand fake thank you notes.

4. Keywords, Keywords, Keywords

Yes, they are important but only to a certain extent. If you stuff your prose full of keywords you’ll end up sounding like a robot stuck on repeat.

Content needs to make sense. Don’t get too focused on having X amount of keywords in the hope that it’s going to improve traffic. Marketing online is all about having a holistic approach – you need to combine good content with a solid social media strategy at the very least. By all means throw in a few keywords but don’t get obsessive about it.

5. Taking the Wrong Advice

With the growth of websites that allow you to work from home, there has been a big rise in the number of people setting up marketing businesses. Unfortunately, this means that you can get saddled with someone who has learned their trade off the back of a crisp packet (or worse still by reading the wrong articles on the internet). Do your own research about what works and what doesn’t and don’t be afraid to shop around or be critical of someone who purports to be an expert.

6. Going Cheap

As the saying goes, you get what you pay for in this world. If something is excessively cheap then the chances are it’s going to be poor quality. As a general rule of thumb, the cheaper the service the more likely you are to be the victim of marketing mistakes.

That doesn’t mean you can’t find some bargain solutions out there, you just have to search pretty deep to find it. Don’t give all your work at once to a new marketing organisation, test them out with a small job first. The same with anyone you hire on a freelance site. And remember to monitor their progress – it’s amazing the number of companies that start off bright and breezy because you are a new customer but begin to flag in the ensuing months when they think you are hooked.

If you’re a new business, you’re going to make marketing mistakes. It’s part of the process of finding what works for you and your brand. The trick is to box clever, don’t part with your hard earned cash based on half-baked promises, and allow time for your strategy to develop in a positive direction.

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Hashtags for Writers

hashtags for writers
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If you’ve been on social media for any length of time then you’ll be aware of hashtags. Including them in posts can broaden your reach but also offers a chance to connect with like minded individuals, other writers and their ilk.

Benefits of Writer’s Hashtags

  • If you send a tweet with a hashtag you’ll receive twice the engagement.
  • You are more likely to be noticed by non-followers who are using a particular hashtag.
  • You have more chance of being retweeted if you include a hashtag.

Pros and Cons of Using Hashtags for Writers

  • Number is important – one or two per post will suffice. Any more than that and you begin to see the effect dwindle.
  • Make your post relevant to the hashtag. So if you use #MondayBlogs don’t put in a plug for your latest product or book. That’s not what that particular hashtag is for.
  • Find the ones that work for you – it’s a good idea to experiment with different hashtags and at different times to see what sort of response you get.
  • Hashtags are not limited to just Twitter. You can use them on other social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram too.

General Hashtags for Writers

#140Poem #1K1H #1K1HR #amediting #amwriting #AmRevising #AuthorLife #ASMSG #CopyWriting #EditGoal #Editing #IndieAuthors #nanowrimo #WordCount #wip #WriteGoodNews #Writer #Writers #WritersBlock #WriteChat #WriteGoal #WriterWednesday #Writing #WriteMotivation #WriteTip #WritersLife #WritersRoad #WritingBlitz #WritingParty #WritingPrompt #WritingSprint #WritingTip #wordcount #WroteToday

Hashtags for Author Promotion

#author #authors #ASMSG #bookmarketing #bookworm #editing #emerging #fictionfriday #fridayflash #followfriday #ff #novels #novelists #poem #poet #poets #99c

Also:

#99cents #AmazonKindle #AmReading #AuthorRT #BestRead #BookBuzz #BookMarketing #BookPlugs #BookReview #BookWorm #eBook #eReaders #FictionFridays #GoodReads #IndieThursday #IndieTuesday#iPad #Kindle #KindleBargain #KindleBooks #KindleeBooks #KindleTouch #KindleTweet #Kobo #LitChat #MustRead #Nook #Novel #Novelists #Novels #Paperbacks #PDF1 #Poetry #PoetryMonth #Pubit #Reviews #ShortReads #Smashwords #StoryFriday #StoryTelling #TeaserTuesday #GreatReads #WhatToRead #WriteQuote #WeekendReader #whattoread

Publishing and Editing Hashtags

#AskAgent #AskAuthor #AskEditor #BookMarketing #EBooks #ePub #ePublishing #GetPublished #HowTo #IAN #IAN1 #Indie #IndieAuthor #IndiePub #MSWL #PromoTip #Publishing #Pubtip #PubWrite #querytip #SelfPub #SelfPublishing #tenqueries #VSS #WebFic #WebLit #WriteTip

Niche Hashtags for Book Genres

#Crime #Comedy #DarkFantasy #Dystopian #Erotica #HistFic #Historical #FaithLitChat #KidLitChat #Literature #LitFic #MemoirChat #MGLit #Mystery #NonFiction #Paranormal #Poetry #PoetryMonth #Romantic #RomanticSuspense #TrueStories #ScienceFiction #SciFiChat #ShortStory #SteamPunk #Suspense #UrbanFantasy #WomensFiction #YA #YALit

If we’ve missed any out then let us know in the comments section below!

Handling Customer Complaints on Social Media

Customer complaints

I made a complaint recently against the AA (the breakdown service not the self-help group for alcoholics). Now, they’re not bad people but they had taken a considerable sum of money out of my bank account and sent me into overdraft meltdown – I was waiting for money to go in but it wasn’t going to cover the whole amount that had been siphoned off so ruthlessly.

As you appreciate, being a freelancer that filthy Dinero stuff tends to come in drips and drops rather than a big monthly flood.

Anyway, I called them up and complained and they cancelled the deal but said that the money would take 4 to 5 days to get back into my account. I wasn’t happy about that but there was nothing practical to be done so I waited. Five days later I found the money still hadn’t been refunded and so I took to my normal default position and posted about it on social media.

It’s a nasty habit, but sometimes it pays off.

This is really the point I want to make, about companies that handle customer complaints on social media, or not as the case often tends to be. I tweeted something snarky about the AA and, as with many organisations nowadays, their Twitter help desk responded fairly quickly asking me for the details via DM so they could look into it for me.

Now, I’ve had this before, but I live in perpetual hope. Don’t we all? We hope that our rant into the Twitter-verse will get some positive result like the refund of money, an apology, the end of the world as we know it. Mostly in the past I’ve DM’d and got feck all out of the company in question. It seems their social media response is about damage limitation and appearing to do the ‘right’ thing in the eyes of any followers that may accidentally pick up on any errant tweets.

I wasn’t expecting much.

Fair do to the AA, though, an hour later I got a call from their head office, a very nice person, apologising for delay – my refund had been processed and it should go through in the next few days. I grumbled ruefully some more as my master plan for indignation at being ignored had gone awry and complained about bank charges and that I was a lowly freelancer etc etc.

Then the complaints bod quite skilfully and without any prompting managed to confuse me by offering £50 towards those bank costs which threw me because, when I do get through to someone, I normally end up dealing with a drone who doesn’t want to take any responsibility at all. The upshot is that the money was refunded shortly after and a couple of days later I received a cheque for the bank charges.

To complete my side of the bargain, I tweeted to my several thousand followers again that the AA actually do a pretty excellent job with business complaints – it’s only fair, after all.

A Quick Guide to Customer Complaints Success

My point is that this is how complaints on social media should be handled. Not only is it advertising for your business, it’s also an opportunity for you to show that you have good customer care credentials and can sort out problems quickly and efficiently. The AA did it in an exemplary fashion and rightly should be commended. Other companies are, unfortunately, lagging behind.

Some of the mistakes businesses, both big and small, make are:

  • Sending out automated responses to complaints or detrimental tweets.
  • Failing to follow up on complaints.
  • Failing to resolve said complaint to the customer’s advantage.

Now I know that the last one may well get a few alarm bells ringing in businesses across the land. I had a valid complaint and there was no particular reason why it couldn’t be sorted out to my advantage. I got my money back and a nominal amount to cover the bank charges incurred. The AA kept a customer happy and I wasn’t left out of pocket.

But what if the customer doesn’t have a valid complaint and still slags your business off on social media?

Here’s the problem: I have a sizable Twitter account with around 25,000 followers most of whom are real (give or take a few harmless bots). That means, as a customer, I have a certain amount of leverage. If I was unscrupulous, I could essentially use that account to lose companies I didn’t like business. People respect what I say (to a certain extent) and often retweet what I post. Those 25,000 followers can help me reach hundreds of thousands, perhaps even millions in one go. That goes way beyond the old word of mouth of yesteryear where complaints had a much more limited reach.

There’s no doubt that it’s a problem for businesses of all sizes but having a coherent policy for social media and handling customer complaints can go a long way to making sure that the best is made of the situation. On the opposite end of the scale, a complaint successfully handled can also provide good, and largely free, advertising for a company.

If you want to know more about handling customer complaints on social media then take a look at this article from Concept 5.